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Prominent lawyer suspended for leaking information to columnist in Arthur Kent election bid

Former war correspondent Arthur Kent is shown in St. Louis, MO., on Feb. 16, 1998. A former television news correspondent known as the Scud Stud says he feels vindicated by the suspension of a prominent lawyer who has admitted she leaked damaging information about him while he was running for a seat in the Alberta legislature. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mary Butkus

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Former war correspondent Arthur Kent is shown in St. Louis, MO., on Feb. 16, 1998. A former television news correspondent known as the Scud Stud says he feels vindicated by the suspension of a prominent lawyer who has admitted she leaked damaging information about him while he was running for a seat in the Alberta legislature. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mary Butkus

CALGARY - A former television news correspondent known as the Scud Stud says he feels vindicated by the suspension of a prominent lawyer who has admitted she leaked damaging information about him while he was running for a seat in the Alberta legislature.

The Law Society of Alberta confirms Kristine Robidoux of Calgary, who was a member of Arthur Kent's campaign team when he unsuccessfully ran for the provincial Progressive Conservatives in 2008, has been suspended for four months for disclosing confidential information about her client.

Kent suffered a narrow defeat after a piece by Canwest columnist Don Martin. The headline, according to the agreed facts, was "Alberta's 'Scud Stud' a 'Dud' on Campaign Trail" and the column was based in part on information provided by Robidoux, who was unnamed in the article.

"For me and for our campaign team the actions of Ms. Robidoux and Mr. Martin and the other sources of his article virtually brought our fundraising to an end and they contributed to a very narrow defeat back in 2008," Kent said Tuesday.

"The fact that it's taken six years? It's a very dark realization that politics is regarded as a blood sport by too many people in the Progressive Conservative party."

Kent rose to international prominence and acquired his nickname when he reported for NBC during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He often went live on the air from a hotel rooftop as Iraqi Scud missiles were launched into Saudi Arabia. In 2008, he was a star candidate for the provincial Tories in the constituency of Calgary-Currie.

In an agreed statement of facts submitted at a law society hearing Monday, Robidoux admitted she leaked damaging information about Kent to Martin, and forwarded emails that detailed how Kent was not following the advice of his campaign team.

The agreed statement of facts says Martin pushed for more information in an email to Robidoux.

"I see the death spiral for A.K. continues. Any more dirt? Column runs tomorrow. Hugs, d."

Robidoux said that's when she told Martin about Kent's financial agent resigning and that Kent declined a meeting with then-party leader and premier Ed Stelmach.

"Wowzers. It's all bad," she wrote, according to the statement of fact.

She said the article turned out worse than she expected.

"After reading the Martin article, I was sick and embarrassed. I believed that the Martin article was unbalanced and wholly negative, thereby leaving a misleading and false impression about Arthur Kent and the campaign," she said. "However, I did not take any steps to have the Martin article retracted, amended or changed."

Kent is in a prolonged civil lawsuit against Martin, his former employers, the National Post and Calgary Herald, and several people who are members of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party, including Robidoux.

Jury selection in the trial is scheduled for next January.

Robidoux provided a written apology to Kent at the hearing.

"I deeply regret this action as well as my failure to disclose my error to you," she wrote. "Not a day goes by that I don't wonder how I ever could have acted with so little thought or good judgment. I am very sorry."

Kent said the apology rings hollow.

"After six years in which she said the opposite, no, it doesn't satisfy me," he said. "I'm just a guy from Calgary who came back from my work overseas. I stood for the 2008 provincial election. I didn't want special treatment at all.

"I wanted a fair break. Instead I found myself subjected to the full fury of the PC party's backroom machinery."

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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